DENVER — Denver Mayor Michael Hancock has sent a letter to the city council that asks members who support sanctioned campsites for people experiencing homelessness to identify where in their district they would want a campsite to go.
“Nobody knows your Council district better than you. Therefore, I request that each of you, who recently sent me a letter in support of the Safe Outdoor Space concept, identify at least one potential site in your district to support a temporary COVID-based temporary campsite,” Hancock said in the letter.
The mayor announced his support for the “Safe Outdoor Spaces” campsites last week. The idea, proposed by the Colorado Village Collaborative, would establish temporary, managed campsites for the city's homeless population.
“While I arrived at this decision with some reluctance – I continue to believe that indoor solutions provide the best opportunity for housing stability – I recognize that COVID-19 has placed additional challenges in the way of addressing the needs of people experiencing homelessness,” the mayor wrote.
City councilors sent their own letter to Hancock about the idea in April. Along with some state lawmakers, these eight council members signed the letter:
- Councilmember Robin Kniech (Council At-Large)
- Councilmember Candi CdeBaca (District 9; neighborhoods Auraria, Central Business District, City Park, City Park West, Clayton, Cole, Elyria-Swansea, Five Points, Globeville, Whittier, Skyland, and Union Station.)
- Councilmember Amanda Sandoval (District 1; neighborhoods include Berkeley, Chaffee Park, Highland, Jefferson Park, Regis, Sunnyside, West Highland and West Colfax.)
- Councilmember Jamie Torres (District 3; neighborhoods include Barnum, Barnum West, LaAlma/Lincoln Park, MarLee, Sun Valley, Villa Park, West Colfax, and Westwood.)
- Councilmember Paul Kashmann (District 6; neighborhoods include Washington Park, University of Denver, Virginia Village, Cory-Merrill, Rosedale, University, Washington Virginia Vale, Windsor.)
- Councilmember Stacie Gilmore (District 11; neighborhoods include Denver International Airport, Gateway, Green Valley Ranch and Montbello.)
- Councilmember Debbie Ortega (Council At-Large)
- Councilmember Chris Hinds (District 10; neighborhoods include Belcaro, Capitol Hill, Cheesman Park, Cherry Creek, Civic Center, Congress Park, Country Club, Golden Triangle, North Capitol Hill, and Speer.)
If you're curious about which district your home is in, you can find out here.
Proposed locations have not been announced, but in his letter, Hancock said he wanted recommendations for lots that cover 10,000-square-feet that could allow for 60 people in 50 tents, and include a restroom, shower and common space.
9NEWS has reached out to all city councilors asking if they have specific locations in mind.
Denver established temporary indoor housing options for people experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the city's data from Tuesday night:
- 495 motel rooms were in use out of 603 available(intended for vulnerable populations and older adults)
- 31 respite beds were in use out of 107 available(intended for positive cases)
- 625 men were served at the National Western Center
- 206 women were served at Denver Coliseum
- 323 individuals surveyed at National Western Center 24/7 shelter:
- 56% from Denver
- 35% from outside the city
- 9% didn’t respond
Per a survey conducted in spring, about 65% of respondents in the city supported the campsite proposal.
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